The Misery Tab is Paid Again by the Big Easy

Looks like we're (Houston area) going to miss the worst but the cost is going to be paid by New Orleans. Landfall of the eye is likely to be almost due-south of New Orleans.

Looks like we're (Houston area) going to miss the worst but the cost is going to be paid by New Orleans. Landfall of the eye is likely to be almost due-south of New Orleans. That means that they will get the brunt of the storm. The way hurricane weather works is that you want to be west of the eye when it passes you by because the highest winds and most rain is on the eastern side of the hurricane with the north-eastern quadrant the worst. That puts New Orleans right smack in the middle of it again.

Katrina actually passed east of New Orleans although not by much and the flooding when the levees broke was the cause of all the misery. Supposedly, the levees have been repaired enough to withstand a category 3 storm but Gustav is a 4 right now and likely to get worse before it hits land again. Western Cuba got hammered by Gustav. The price of Cuban cigars is going up! (Not an issue for me.)

Although I was going to shut off the computers when things got really bad that hasn't happened yet, thank God. I have been running around doing all the odd chores necessary and looking in now and again. Being able to look at the NOAA and other weather agency web sites has allowed me to make my own assessments and shut-off the hype that seams to plague the TV news and cable news operations.

I've been using my computer to look at the hurricane forecasts at: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at2+shtml/143912.shtml?3day?large#contents and over the last couple of days the projected path has been extremely steady with very small deviations west and east.

To get a real appreciation for the size of the storm, you can look at this IR loop from the weather satellite. http://www.goes.noaa.gov/HURRLOOPS/huirloop.html The outer clouds of the storm are already into Mississippi and Louisiana. From the Texas-Louisiana state line to Jacksonville Florida is about 650 miles (just a guess). The hurricane is at least that large across.

If you look at the most northern edge or curve of the storm clouds, you can see where the weather front edge is north of the storm. If you project it to the west and south, you'll see what is keeping the storm from going any further west and hitting Houston. To the west of the clouds circulating counterclockwise around the hurricane, there are little wisps of clouds circulating clockwise just to the west and that system is the barrier keeping Gustav away from Texas.

The animated IR loop is probably the best way to see a hurricane because you can see if the storm is picking up more or less heat energy as it moves. The Gulf of Mexico is a big, relatively shallow body of water so the water gets hot fast but luckily it also gets cold fast. So as the heat gets "sucked" out by the hurricane there is less for it to build up with. That means the hurricane usually falls apart fairly quickly once landfall happens but you want it to keep moving so it doesn't dump all the rain in one place. The 5 day forecast shows the rain will be in northeast Texas.

Of all the technological miracles there are, the combination of the Internet, personal computers and weather satellites is possibly the best use of technology available to most everybody.